(2953) Ivanchuk,Vassily (2739) - Kramnik,Vladimir (2772) [D37]
Tal Memorial Moscow RUS (9), 14.11.2009

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 Bb4 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.e5
[8.Bxc4 ]

8...Qd8N 9.Qa4+ Nc6 10.Bxc4 Bd7 11.Qc2 Na5
A knight on the rim is dim, they say, but Black's aim is to achieve ...c5 and then drop the knight someplace nice like c4.

12.Bd3 c5 13.dxc5 Rc8 14.a3 Bxc5 15.0-0
[15.b4 isn't a worry here: 15...Be7 (15...Bb6 is good too, and now 16.bxa5 is probably even worse. 16...Bxa5 17.0-0 Rxc3-/+ ) 16.bxa5? Qxa5 17.Rc1 Bxa3-/+ ]

15...0-0 16.Rad1 Be7
[16...Bb6 is possible too. On the game continuation 17.Qe2 Qe7 may give the kingside a little more support, though White has a slight advantage after 18.Qe4 g6 19.Qf4 (19.Qg4 doesn't make much sense, now that Bxg6 doesn't threaten anything, and Black is equal after 19...Bc6 20.Ne4 Bxe4 21.Qxe4 Rfd8 ) 19...Kg7 20.Ne4 ]

17.Qe2 Qc7 18.Qe4 g6 19.Qg4 Kg7
[19...Bc6 20.Bxg6 Bxf3 (20...fxg6?? 21.Qxg6+ Kh8 22.Qxh6+ Kg8 23.Qg6+ Kh8 24.Rd4+- ) 21.Bxf7+ Kxf7 22.Qxf3+ Kg8 (22...Ke8? 23.Qh5+ Rf7 24.Nb5! Qb6 25.Nd6+ Bxd6 26.exd6+- ) 23.Qg4+ Kh8 24.Qxe6 Bg5 might be survivable for Black, but it's hard to see any reason to go into this variation in the first place.]

Black's position is looking dangerous. The problem is that the e5+e6 duo cuts the board into two halves. On the kingside, you'll find much of White's army: the queen, both knights, the e-pawn and (by influence, anyway) the bishop on d3. On the queenside, you'll find a collection of useless-looking Black pieces: the queen and rook, parked majestically on the vacated c-file, the stray knight on a5, and the bishop on d7.

20...Bc6 21.Nf4 Rg8 22.Nd4
[22.Nxe6+ fxe6 23.Qxg6+ Kf8 24.Qxh6+ Rg7 25.Nd4 Qxe5 26.Qh8+ Kf7 27.Bg6+!! Kxg6 28.Qxc8+/- is good for White too, but 27.Bg6+ is reasonably hard to find, and in any case Ivanchuk probably preferred to keep up the attack.]

22...Kh7 23.h4
Continuing to build, but maybe he should have gotten on with it. [23.Ndxe6 Qxe5 (23...fxe6 24.Qxe6 Bg5 25.Nxg6 Rce8 26.Qf5 Rg7 27.h4 Bd8 28.b4 Nb3 29.Ne7+ Kh8 30.Nxc6 bxc6 31.Bc4+- ) 24.b4 Nb3 25.Rfe1 Qf6 26.Qh3+/- ]

23...Qxe5 24.h5
[Trying to get the last piece into the game with 24.Rfe1 , counting on 24...Qxd4 25.Bxg6+ , doesn't work due to 25...Rxg6-+ ]

24...Kh8! 25.Nxc6 Nxc6 26.hxg6
[26.Rfe1 gxh5 27.Qf3 Nd4! 28.Qe4 Qxe4 29.Bxe4 Rgd8-/+ ]

26...f5 27.g7+ Rxg7 28.Ng6+ Kg8
A slightly fortunate escape for Kramnik, who holds on to win the tournament. [28...Kg8 29.Nxe5 fxg4= ] 1/2-1/2